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Moment of Silence Held for Brittney Griner Before WNBA Game

Following the sentencing of Brittney Griner in Russia to nine years in prison on Thursday, the WNBA world continues to show Griner their support. Before the Connecticut Sun and Phoenix Mercury game started, coaches, players, and fans locked arms and silently bowed their heads for 42 seconds– a nod to Griner’s jersey number with the Mercury.

“Nobody wanted to even play today,” Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said. “The whole group is crying before the game. You try to honor her and still play hard for her. Regardless of whether she’s here or not. Right now we still got to try and keep her spirit alive. Honor her spirit.”

On Thursday, the two-time U.S. olympic champion and eight time WNBA all-star, was sentenced to nine years in prison after being detained in Russia for carrying less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner called the incident an “honest mistake,” saying she never meant to hurt anyone with her actions.

She is now part of a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

President Joe Biden called the verdict and the sentence “unacceptable,” which came amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

Griner showed little emotion to the sentence, but her lawyers said later she was “very upset, very stressed.”

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